Lawmakers said the White House had played a key role in unsticking the stalled bill -- despite Bush's initial opposition to the creation of the Sept. 11 Commission.
Lawmakers noted that the bill passed in the House on the 63rd anniversary of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor -- a day making "the list of great intelligence failures of the United States," said Democratic Senator Bill Graham.
"Today, after a half a century, we are committed and on the verge of making some fundamental reforms that will reduce the chances of another Pearl Harbor or another 9/11 occurring."
But the outgoing Florida senator also lamented that similar reform might have prevented past intelligence failures -- had lawmakers had the foresight to revamp US intelligence earlier.
"I think a case can be made that both the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq could have been avoided had we had more and better human intelligence capability," Graham said.